Home Barking, Dagenham, & Surrounding Areas Footage: Dagenham and Essex-led ‘people-smuggling ring’ dismantled

Footage: Dagenham and Essex-led ‘people-smuggling ring’ dismantled

Dagenham and grays people smuggling grays

This is the dramatic moment three accused members of an Albanian organized crime group were apprehended in East London unlawfully transporting people into the UK. On Monday (June 19), the accused ringleaders, a 34-year-old male from Grays in Essex and a 34-year-old man from Dagenham, were detained on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration.

Investigators from the National Crime Agency (NCA) think the gang assisted in the illegal entry of migrants, costing between £2,500 and £7,500 each time, including an incident last August in which a small boat carrying 46 individuals left from the French coast and was caught in British seas.

There were mostly Albanians on board, including young children. One of those attempting to cross the border was a convicted rapist who had already been deported from the UK and has now been deported again. Border Force agents withdrew the passengers and sent them to a holding center, and the incident was investigated.

NCA officers found three further occurrences in October and November 2022 that they believe are related to the gang and involve a vehicle. The vehicle is said to have traveled from Coquelles, France, three times, stopping at petrol stations in Cobham and Thurrock to pick up migrants. The driver, a 55-year-old Belgian, was apprehended after he was pulled over in Folkestone.

Two more individuals were detained at a North London location on suspicion of illegal entry into the UK. All of those detained are still being questioned by NCA officials.

One of the gangs deadly small boats, allegedly (Image: NCA)

Chris Farrimond, Director of Threat Leadership at the NCA, said: “We have dismantled a suspected organised crime group behind a number of dangerous migrant crossings last year. People smugglers do not care about the safety of those they transport, they seek to exploit them for profit.

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“Tackling organised immigration crime is a priority for the NCA and we have more than 90 ongoing investigations into networks based here and overseas causing the highest harm. As we target callous organised criminal gangs, we will not hesitate to also pursue HGV drivers complicit in helping them.”

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